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5 Products for Hammer Toes

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Updated November 23, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

A hammer toe is a deformity that causes a toe to contract upward in the middle part of the toe. In many cases, hammer toes affect multiple toes and can result in pain and discomfort, especially while wearing shoes. The most common problem a hammer toe causes is pain over the top of the toe, where it rubs against the inside of the shoe. Hammer toes are also associated with painful corns and calluses, both on the toe itself and under the ball of the foot.

The following list shows a few popular products for relieving hammer toe symptoms. These products are designed to help cushion or protect problem areas of the toe. Some products may help stretch the toe downward, which will counteract some of the upward pulling of the toe but will not permanently eliminate the hammer toe. If you have a health condition that affects leg circulation or wound healing, such as diabetes, it is best to first see a podiatrist for care of any symptoms caused by a hammer toe. Some products are not recommended for diabetics, so it is important to check the product label before purchasing.

1. Toe Stretching Products

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Products like the Flex-Tastic Exercisers are used to stretch the toes, which can counteract the excessive tendon pulling that contributes to a hammer toe. They can be used a few minutes a day as part of a stretching routine. Some hammer toe sufferers will find these helpful for relieving sore toes. Other similar products include Yoga Toes and SmartToes.
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2. Metatarsal Pad with Toe Loop

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This ball of the foot cushion by Pedi-Fix can be helpful if hammer toes are causing pain beneath the ball of the foot, also known as metatarsalgia. The loop slips over the second or third toe and holds the pad in place under the ball of the foot. Often, a bunion of the big toe will cause the second toe to develop into a hammer toe. When this happens, pain often occurs in the ball of the foot, under the second toe. Metatarsal pads are designed to be worn in shoes and can even be used if you have arch supports or orthotics in your shoes.
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3. Toe Loops

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Toe Loops by 3-Point Products are designed to splint two toes together to temporarily straighten and cushion a hammer toe. This type of product may be helpful for reducing toe pain from rubbing the shoe and for separating overlapping toes. Toe Loops feature a breathable foam lining and can be adjusted to a desired fit.
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4. Gel-Lined Toe Socks

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These gel-lined toe socks from FootSmart provide cushioning for toes, which can provide relief for hammer toes that have developed painful corns or friction areas from rubbing the inside of the shoe. They also separate the toes, which is helpful for overlapping toes that can rub against each other, resulting in sore areas and corns.
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5. Gel Toe Crest

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Toe crests are designed to wrap around a single toe, usually the second, and pull it down slightly while you are walking. This brand of toe crest by FootSmart is made of a gel that provides cushion underneath the toes, not the ball of the foot as a metatarsal pad does. Like the metatarsal pad and toe loops, the toe crest can be worn while wearing shoes.
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